advice on first coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by usurp1, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. usurp1

    usurp1 Hatching

    Mar 20, 2015
    Hi. We are in the process of building a coop. Floor dimensions are 4X5 including a row of three nest boxes at 12. We will have an outdoor run attached as well. Would this be enough indoor space for 6 hens? Also i am having trouble deciding where to place the roosting bar and poop board :/ how far from the roof should it be? Thank you for suggestions!
  2. simon7mm

    simon7mm In the Brooder

    Nov 28, 2013
    Western NL, Canada
    From my experience, I like to have the roosting area just a little higher than the nesting boxes...just so they won't sleep in the nests. (They might try anyway) I initially had the roost at about 4' 4" but I had a couple with foot problems. I lowered to about 3' or a little less and it has been about a year - I never heard them complain yet!
    I try to keep at least 4 square ft per bird, more if I can. Winters are the worse here, we have 8 - 10' of snow on the ground, so outside run is not available for another month or two.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! It's way too small, unless you are getting very mellow quiet bantams. At least four to five sq. ft. per bird in the coop, and a bigger run. I'd recommend BIGGER, and walk-in height. Those cute dog-house type coops aren't bird friendly at all. My birds roost from three to eight feel up; they'd be horrified to live in a tiny low space! Mary
  4. Alabama Jack

    Alabama Jack Songster

    Oct 26, 2014
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Almost done with mine, and what I've realized is that its best to start with the design of the roost bars, and design around that. 12" per bird of horizontal space, then 10-12" on either side for poop clearance. Then they need 2-4 feet from there (that's my WAG, not positive on that dimension) so they can jump/fly down. I used a poop board, which is 16" above the coop floor, then the first roost at about 7" above the board and the back one at about 14" above the board. Figure all that out, and you'll have your floor dimensions. Hope that helps.
  5. bdjh

    bdjh Chirping

    Aug 7, 2013
    Our coop is 4'x6', and we've got 7 birds in it. I certainly wouldn't put any more in there, but they seem perfectly happy and healthy. They spend all of their time outside, though, aside from nights, and winter, of course.

    As for roosting bars, I put mine up about 18"-20" inches, and put it right next to a large window, so they sit there all the time looking out, waiting to see us coming with treats, and then the squawking starts!

    The unexpected thing that happened on the very first night was that they used the roosting bar as a ladder, jumping from the bar up onto the rafter boards of the coop. They spend each night up there.....seems to be their 'happy place' at night. If your design allows, I'd strongly suggest putting up as many roosting bars as possible right up near the ceiling.

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